Fumio Kishida —REUTERS

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (REUTERS)



MANILA, Philippines — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and wife Yuko are set to visit the Philippines later this week to forge stronger ties with Manila.

The couple will be arriving at Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday at 3 p.m. for a two-day visit.

Kishida is set to have a meeting with President Marcos on Friday and a visit to the House of Representatives on Saturday.

Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria Garafil said Mr. Marcos and Kishida would hold a bilateral meeting to discuss security issues in the face of growing tensions between Manila and Beijing in the South China Sea, among other areas of mutual concerns such as political, people-to-people ties, economic and development cooperation.Garafil said the two leaders were also expected to reaffirm the excellent relations between the Philippines and Japan, which was elevated into a strategic partnership in 2011.

RAA negotiations

A Kyodo News report, quoting sources, said Mr. Marcos and Kishida would discuss the negotiations for a Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) to come up with a Visiting Forces Agreement between the two countries.

The RAA is a bilateral defense and security pact between Japan and other countries that provides shared military training and operations

Japan has an existing RAA with the United Kingdom, Australia and France.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said in early October he was hopeful that the Philippines and Japan would sign the RAA before year-end.

At the House of Representatives on Saturday, Congress will hold a special joint session for Kishida’s visit. The session will start at 10 a.m., a House media advisory said.

The Japanese first lady is scheduled to make a stop at the Nihongo Center Foundation Inc. also on Saturday to engage with Filipino learners of the Japanese language.